Ok, so try #3 on coconut was a success. I finally got a coconut with a lot of milk in it, and it actually came out. I poked a bigger hole through the soft spots, so maybe that had something to do with it. But I could actually hear all the milk inside when I shook the thing up, so I was determined to get it out this time. Instead of my phillips head screwdriver and hammer, I used the biggest flat head one that I had and twisted it around in that hole forever it seems. Either my method or my choice of coconut paid off. I got 2/3 cup of coconut water out of that baby! And then, when I baked it at 350 degrees I checked it at 15 minute intervals and it had cracked perfectly somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes. It hadn't dried out yet at 30 minutes in the slightest bit, and was much easier to peel. All in all, I am so glad I made a 3rd attempt, because it wasn't as hard as I had made it the 1st two times. Anyway, after pureeing the freshly peeled coconut with the coconut water, and then adding a can of coconut milk, I had almost 4 cups of liquid already, so there was a very minimal amount of cream to be added. Then I added 3/4 cup of syrup, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 Tbsp. of freshly squeezed lime juice, and voila, perfect coconut ice cream.
I also made another ice cream that my mother was working on while I was working on coconut. She was given the ingredients from a staff member at Robert Levine's restaurant in Hilton Head, and perfected the quantities. I basically made vanilla ice cream: 3 cups cream, 3/4 cup maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla (this is my new standard, go to vanilla recipe). Then added 1 tsp cinnamon (but I actually love cinnamon, so I added a little more), and 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp of Frank's hot sauce. It's technically supposed to be Tabasco. So if you use Tabasco, I wouldn't use as much b/c it's a little hotter than the Franks. Listen, this wasn't that hot, but it had a sweet little bite at the end and all of my kids who are spicy-averse loved this ice cream and ate it right up. It was a huge hit! Very tasty.